It was announced today, March 10, 2014, that the Microsoft Surface 2, Surface Pro, and Surface Pro 2 tablets will be compatible with the new Power Cover keyboard. According to betanews.com, the new keyboard will be available for purchase on March 19. 2014. The keyboard will also serve as a screen cover, and will have a built in battery which can extend the battery life by 70%. The extended battery life will be a welcomed advance, making the overall battery life far beyond most laptops.
The keyboard will have physical keys that click when pressed, offering a real keyboarding experience when using the tablet. The price is reported to be $199, which is a bit steep for a keyboard; however, the extended battery life is the value add to justify the additional cost. A standard keyboard cover is $129, so the $70 marginal increase might well be worth it for many users.
The biggest obstacle for educational use continues to be the overall price. The Surface Pro 2 64 GB base unit is priced at $899, and that does not include Microsoft Office. Office must be purchased separately, although education discounts are available depending on how one chooses to access the programs. The total cost of the Surface Pro 2 with the new Power Cover and Office could be close to $1500.
While the Surface Pro 2 is arguably a great device for students, the price continues to be aimed more at business users with deeper pockets. Hopefully, Microsoft makes this device more affordable for students and schools in the near future.